Galarian Darmanitan V – Vivid Voltage
Date Reviewed: January 27, 2021
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Galarian Darmanitan V (SW – Vivid Voltage 036/185, 169/185) is today’s subject, so don’t be surprised when we get around to reviewing Galarian Darmanitan VMAX. Speaking of obvious things, this card is the Galarian form of a previously established Pokémon. The TCG handles this by inserting “Galarian” into the card’s name. Whether the Galarian Evolution line is separate or branches off of the ones from other regions depends on the specific line; in this case, Galarian Darmanitan (and Galarian Darmanitan V) are their own, separate things, from each other and from previous Darmanitan cards. Currently, there are no card effects that reference cards as being “Galarian”, but we eventually saw a few such effects late in the Sun & Moon-era, so this may change i time.
Galarian Darmanitan V is a Water-type, which makes sense as the artwork depicts a Galarian Darmanitan in its “Standard” mode. No, not a reference to our TCG format; just to make things a little extra confusing, Galarian Darmanitan (the Pokémon not the card) comes in “Standard” and “Zen” modes. The TCG does not officially recognize this in any effect, but does use it. You just have to look at the card art, and the Zen Mode cards can be Fire type, the secondary typing of Galarian Darmanitan in Zen mode. This Galarian Darmanitan V is only a Water type, and that… okay. There are better supported types, but Water types don’t face natural Resistance in Standard (there’s a little in Expanded), have some so-so support in Standard (more in Expanded), and anti-[W] effects exist but haven’t proven particularly useful (so far). It is great when you’re smacking [R] types, and that is part of the competitive metagame, but not enough to make the Water type great.
As a Pokémon V, Galarian Darmanitan V gives up an extra Prize when KO’d, can’t take advantage of certain support like Scoop Up Net, and has do deal with anti-V effects like that of Decidueye (SW – Darkness Ablaze 013/189; SW – Black Star Promos SWSH035). It isn’t all bad, however. Baseline versions of Galarian Darmanitan are Stage 1 Pokémon with – at the time of writing this article – 140 HP; being a Pokémon V means Galarian Darmanitan V has the huge advantage of being a Basic (fastest Stage, least resource requirements) and a nice, chunky 220 HP. That’s 80 more than regular Galarian Darmanitan V, and the middle of the typical range (210 to 230) for Basic Pokémon V. OHKO’s can still happen, but you should be safe from low and most (if not all) mid-tier attacks, outside of your Weakness.
Speaking of which, Metal Weakness is not a good thing. Zacian V decks are one of the best in the metagame, and have been solid to amazing since the card released. It is possible a future release will change that, but at this point, I doubt it. Plus, the Metal type has good support, so it might just be a future Metal-type replacing it, which could make the situation worse. A slight silver lining is that the numbers might be a bit odd; attacks that hit for under 100 are only good for 2HKOs (or less), while attacks that already hit for 220+ are still OHKOs. Zacian V’s “Brave Blade” hits for 230, so it is the deck’s potential supporting attackers where the Weakness could be an issue. No Resistance is technically the worst, but common and easily bypassed with off-type attackers, so it rarely matters. A Retreat Cost of [CC] is neutral; low enough you can pay, high enough you’d prefer not to, and Air Balloon can zero it out.
Galarian Darmanitan V knows two attacks. For [WC] it can use “Freezing Headbutt” to do 50 damage and flip a coin. If heads, your opponent’s Active is Paralyzed, while tails means you just do the 50 damage. Underwhelming for the Energy, but still useful in a pinch. Its second attack is “Frozen Slice”, costing [WWC]; just one more Energy lets Galarian Darmanitan V attack and do 190 to your opponent’s Active but it does 30 damage to itself. This means Galarian Darmanitan V is not scoring a OHKO against most Basic Pokémon V, but it will one-shot most single Prize Pokémon, Basic Pokémon-GX (excluding TAG TEAMs), and nearly all Basic Pokémon-EX. At least, if they lack defensive buffs or other protect. Still, for this much Energy, 190 is low and the self-damage completely unjustified. I also worry as the self-damage drops you in OHKO range of 200 damage attacks, and those are a “thing” in the metagame.
Galarian Darmanitan V is mediocre in its own right, but it gives you the option of running Galarian Darmanitan VMAX (SW – Vivid Voltage 037/185, 187/185). We’ll go into detail about it in its own review, but it is definitely to Galarian Darmanitan V’s advantage that this is the case. Galarian Darmanitan V does have one less expensive attack than Galarian Darmanitan VMAX, which also happens to offer the chance to stall, but unless you’re running mixed Energy types, if you can afford Frozen Slice, you can afford Galarian Darmanitan VMAX’s “big attack”, and that attack is all around better.
- Standard: 2/5
- Expanded: 2/5
Even though I haven’t said much good about Galarian Darmanitan V, it is not terrible, just underwhelming. Which is par for the course when it comes to evolving Pokémon V.
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